Apple rejects more than a third of App Store submissions

Apple rejects more than a third of App Store submissions

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App Store icon
Literally millions of iPhone and iPad applications are submitted to the App Store every year. Each has to be reviewed.
Photo: PhotoAtelier/Flickr

In testimony on Thursday in the Epic Games v. Apple trial, Trystan Kosmynka, the senior director for the App Store review process, confirmed that around 5 million appications are submitted to the software store per year. And roughly 35% are rejected.

The court battle between Epic Games and the iPhone maker is over how the App Store is managed. The game developer apparently wanted to demonstrate what a herculean job the review process is.

Leah Nylen from Politico tweets from the courtroom, giving a blow-by-blow account and making public details about testimony, including Kosmynka’s.

Drinking from a firehose

A lawyer for Epic Games cited statistics on how many new and updated were submitted to the App Store for review over several years.

In 2017, the number was 5.2 million of which 33% were rejected. The next year, there were 4.8 million submitted and 35% were rejected. In 2019, 4.8 million applications were submitted for review and 36% were rejected.

Kosmynka testified that less than 1% of the rejections are appealed, and the original decisions are usually upheld.

App Store review process is both human and automated

The entire App Store review process isn’t handled by humans. Kosmynka confirmed that Apple has a system to scan submissions for malware, out-of-date SDKs and other forbidden inclusions.

There is a human review process, though. The lawyer for Epic Games cited evidence that Kosmynka himself had once noted in an email that many of these people work 10-hour days.

The Apple executive had to admit that some applications were approved and later blocked. During cross-examination by an Apple lawyer, Kosmynka said, “It’s a human process. We make mistakes. We do try to rectify those mistakes.”